Meet the Team
Rebecca Massie: Founder
I am a mental health activist, peer-provider, writer, and public speaker from San Francisco. I come to each of these positions after many years as a patient in the mental health system. My experiences as a patient allow for me to help others feel less alone as they navigate the mental health system.
I founded Better Because Collective because of the many stories I had heard of how people were able to better their lives through the skills they learned throughout their mental health journeys. I searched for an online community where I could immerse myself in these stories but, to my surprise, was unable to find anything like this. It was clear to me that people not only needed to share their own stories, but that they needed to read the stories of others in order to help one another grow and heal.
So, I created a platform for people to share, celebrate, and learn from personal stories of post-traumatic growth. My hope is that Better Because Collective will help individuals in the midst of mental health experiences to find hope, and that it will serve as a teaching tool for mental health practitioners as they learn about post-traumatic growth.
Jade Dumoulin: Interim Managing Editor
I am a young poet, story-teller, and lover of words. I recently graduated from Salve Regina University with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. My extensive experience in essay-tutoring and creative workshopping has shaped my passion for editing and publishing.
I joined the Better Because Collective because I believe that overcoming and growing from trauma is a metamorphosis – and often the chrysalis opens up as we do, once the story is told. Better Because Collective illustrates the idea that empathy creates vitality. I am able to use my understanding of language and writing to help others tell their stories, and in doing so, to create a more empathetic and kind world.
India Kushner: Editor
I am a writer and editor by night, and a first impressions coordinator at a co-working space in Baltimore, Maryland, by day. I have experience as an editor for feminist organizations, Rose Water Magazine and The Tempest. My work experience – helping writers craft narratives of their own stories, and writing related to current events – is what drew me to the Better Because Collective.
I believe that anyone can be a writer with the right tools. I hope to help raise awareness about topics that are often overlooked, and to uplift voices that deserve to be heard.
Meaghan O’Brien: Editor
I am an optimistic, adventure-seeking, dog-loving, latte-sipping mental health professional. I have recently graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master’s in Education and a concentration in Equity & Social Justice. To me, storytelling is a bridge for individuals who would otherwise not have the chance to connect.
I have always been able to articulate myself better through written word, and continuously find myself in spaces where I am writing, reviewing, and copyediting literature. Throughout my schooling and my work in the non-profit sector, I have grown an affinity for supporting others on their path towards becoming better writers.
I joined the Better Because Collective because connection, sharing, and growth were predecessors in my own mental health journey. I want to aid and amplify stories of lived experiences so that others realize they too can be a writer or storyteller.
Sriyani Rao: Marketing Manager
I am a content creator, digital marketer, and aspiring fiction writer living in tropical Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Driven towards making an impact, I am passionate about using the power of digital communications to spark conversations, engage communities, and create a sense of belonging for others.
I joined the Better Because Collective because my experience with mental health has influenced the way I view the world today – with courage and resilience. I hope to inspire the same positive spirit in all of us and guide us in our journey of growth and fulfillment.
Maitri Kamdar: Communications Strategist
I am a creative strategist and brand developer by profession, and an optimistic and empathetic person by heart. Growing up in the United Arab Emirates and India has given me a cultural mindset that allows me to offer new perspectives to others – filling their lives with color. I am passionate about joining hands with people through cultures, intentions, and causes, and I employ my content creation and communication strategies to build a more connected world around me.
Being the daughter of a personal recovery champion, I have witnessed the journey to mental wellness firsthand. Through the Better Because Collective, I am able to raise awareness for a platform that encourages a positive outlook through conversations on mental wellness. It is my job to build a safe space for people to tell their stories and foster an attitude of hope and growth in their journey ahead, together.
Katrina van Draanen: Email Marketer
I am a digital marketer, creator, and plant-mom based in San Francisco. I am passionate about building digital experiences that foster empathy and create community in the modern world. I am excited by the ways in which the internet allows us to connect with one another, and I think this space is powerful in creating supportive virtual communities around shared experiences such as mental health and trauma.
I was drawn to the Better Because Collective because of the ways that my experience with mental health and chronic illness have contributed to my personal growth. I am excited to be a part of a community that celebrates this and encourages others to share their stories.
Stepha Poulin: Copywriting Manager
I am a graduate student, journalist, and writer with experience as a reporter, copy editor, and editor in chief. I currently live in Cleveland, Ohio, with my two cats while pursuing a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications at Bowling Green State University. My work in student media and as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch has allowed me to practice what I love – learning, editing, and writing alongside fellow journalists.
I joined the Better Because Collective because of my passion for storytelling and hearing stories otherwise untold. Whether creating a feature story or simple website copy, I strive to uplift diverse perspectives through the written word.
Bayleigh Acosta: Copywriter
I am a writer, nature-lover, and student from Dallas, Texas. I currently attend the University of Oklahoma where I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English writing. I have a love for writing of all kinds, and embrace any opportunity to work alongside others and further my passion.
The Better Because Collective combines my passion for writing with my passion for others. My mental wellness journey has given me an optimistic and inclusive perspective that I strive to use in each of my personal and professional endeavors. I enjoy being a part of a community that employs these values through the art of storytelling.
Aileen Wang: Social Media Manager
I’m a data-driven digital marketer based in San Francisco. Driven by an increasingly technological driven world, my personal mission is to bridge the gap between humans and genuine connections. Through the power of social media, I want to create a future that’s more compassionate and less complicated.
I was drawn to the Better Because Collective to help people find a safe, inclusive space for people to share their struggles with mental health and traumatic experiences. By elevating each of our stories, I hope others will find support and solace in the triumphs of one another.
Ana Wong: Social Media Manager
I’m a creative and strategic self-starter, who’s passionate about all-things social media. I’ve always been drawn to the marketing and advertising space because I believe that we can communicate meaningful messages that connect companies to their target audience.
As a third-culture individual, who grew up in Asia for the majority of my life, mental health was seen as a taboo. If it wasn’t for the important people in my life that have been affected with mental health and trauma, I wouldn’t have such an eye-opening experience. I joined the Better Because Collective to break and challenge the status quo, further educate myself with the mental health space, and to create a safe space for individuals who are struggling with their own experiences. I love that I can merge my passion for Social Media for a good cause and help others feel less alone while they navigate the turmoil of mental health.
YQuynh Nguyen: Social Media Content Creator
My life has always centered around mental health. From an early age, I developed mental health challenges that hindered my ability to live my life to my fullest potential. As a second-generation Vietnamese-American, I dedicated most of my time to understanding how cultural backgrounds and upbringing impacts mental health, especially within the Asian/Pacific Islander community.
The Better Because Collective aligns with my goal to normalize talking about mental health and offering people a place to share their personal narratives through storytelling, art, and design.
In my free time, you can find me journaling about my own story, watching movies with my parents, or kayaking and biking trails within the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.